So, you’re looking into getting a Sheepadoodle but not sure it’s the right breed for you? Heard about them but would like to know more? Wondered what the fuss is all about? Read on to answer all of these questions and more.
We have written this article so you can finish knowing everything you wanted to know about the Sheepadoodle (and everything you didn’t want to know).
We will explore their character, look, size, and the parentage of the Sheepadoodle. We will explain their feeding requirements, health and exercise needs and will give you a balanced overview. Leaving you with the knowledge to decide if the Sheepadoodle is the right dog for you.
Table of Contents
SHEEPADOODLE QUICK FACTS
|Parent Breeds||Poodle and Old English Sheepdog|
|Height||16 to 22 Inches Tall|
|Weight||60 to 80 Pounds (27kg to 36kg)|
|Size Class||Medium to Large|
|Lifespan||12 to 15 Years|
|Other Names||Sheepdog Poodle Mix; SheepPoo; Sheep-a-poo; Sheepdogpoo; Sheepdoodle|
|Temperament||Sociable; Obedient; Happy|
|Best Suited To||Familes with children|
A Sheepadoodle is a mix between an Old English Sheepdog and a Poodle. The breed usually uses the Standard Poodle to create a medium to large dog. This is because the Old English Sheepdog and the Poodle are similar sizes.
The Sheepadoodle can also be bred as a “Mini”, using a Miniature Poodle, but these are not so common, as both dogs would have to be a similar size in order to give the bitch a safe pregnancy and birth.
Sheepadoodles can be a straight 50/50 mix (F1), Sheepadoodle x Sheepadoodle (F2) or a different mix, like Sheepadoodle x Old English Sheepdog (F1b). More detailed Doodle generational information on how the mixes are labelled can be found in our Labradoodle section of the website, Labradoodle Generations Explained.
The Poodle is a working dog and dates back to the 15th century. It is a clever and resilient breed and originally used as waterfowler’s dogs to retrieve game.
Their traditional cut was actually developed to help them perform their jobs as efficiently as possible. The lion coat clip and long hair on the chest protected their vital organs from cold, the “pom-poms” on the back are positioned over the kidneys for protection against cold and also helped with buoyancy in the water, their bodies are clipped to allow them to glide through the water and the longer hair on the legs helped to protect their ankle joints from sharp rocks.
I like to see poodles with a natural “unkempt” look, rather than the “Poodle” cut as they are an athletic and strong dog. One of my favorite breeds of dog is the Standard Poodle and I would love to have one.
You can read more about the Poodle breed and its history in our full Poodle guide.
Old English Sheepdog History
The Old English Sheepdog is a very early type of herding dog, originating in the UK. It can be traced back to as early as the 1700s. The breed was exported to the US in the late 1800s where they became a firm favorite both as pet dogs and show dogs due to their calm, loving nature and willingness to please. They are also big cuddle monsters and no matter how large they are, they always seem to think they can fit on your lap!
Their shaggy, water-resistant, thick coat meant they could work in the toughest of terrains and harshest weathers. When the weather turned warm, the dogs could be sheared, much like sheep, and their hair was spun to make warm clothing in preparation for the next winter.
The first Old English Sheepdog exhibited at a show was in 1873. From that point forward, a breed standard was established and hasn’t changed that much to this day. And why would they need to change it? It is a beautiful breed.
Sheepadoodle Temperament & Behaviour
The Sheepadoodle has come from two working dog breeds (Old English Sheepdog and Poodle) so therefore displays a mix of both personality traits. Some are amazing, others are less easy to live with.
They are a friendly breed who will remain by your side. They are loyal, affectionate, incredibly clever, and seem to be able to tune into human emotions and react accordingly.
We have categorized the main temperament traits for you, in a “pro” and “con” style as we believe all of these wonderful dog’s qualities can also be their downfall:
Loving Nature / Separation Anxiety
Both parent breeds are traditionally working dogs and have lived and worked alongside their humans for hundreds of years. This trait is seen in the Sheepadoodle in abundance.
This results in a dog who is not happy at all to be left alone for long periods of time but is very content to spend endless hours with you, without the need for some quiet time in their bed or crate. This, therefore, makes them amazing dogs to be around children as they thrive on the endless attention and play.
Sheepadoodles love a good cuddle and usually worm their way onto your lap when they can. Personal space is not in the Sheepadoodle’s remit!
It is this quality that can lead to unwanted behavior when left alone, as they get very anxious and worried without you.
I had to install a post box outside as Lennox would eat the post and rip it to shreds. I remember having to explain to somebody on the phone that “my dog must have eaten the letter, so this is why the bill hasn’t been paid”.
Intelligent / Easily bored
Due to the intelligent nature of the Poodle, they are very clever and crave stimulation. However, if left to their own devices, can get easily bored, leading to destructive behavior. Check out my stairs, re-designed by Cassius when he was a few months old.
Protective / Obsessive
Due to their craving for human attention, thanks to the Old English Sheepdog, the Sheepadoodle will often shadow their humans, watching their every move. Chewing is a natural behaviour the dog will use to release their anxiety caused by their humans not being there.
Great With Children / Can be Over Excitable
This breed is energetic and kind, but can sometimes over-step the mark and get too boisterous for a younger child to manage. Sheepadoodles can be gentle and intuitive, making them great family pets.
Unfortunately, the herding instinct of the OES comes though and the Sheepadoodle may often try to herd its family, often nipping them to keep them in line. This is not usually an aggressive behavior, more an instinct that will need to be patiently trained out of them.
Sizes for this breed can range from medium to large, depending on the parents’ size. They can take a fair amount of weight to their frames and are a solid and strong dog. They are often broad like the OES and tall like the Poodle. The “Mini” Sheepadoodle tends to have a similar frame, just on a smaller scale.
Weight for the standard Sheepadoodle can range from 60 pounds (27kg) to anything up to and over 80 pounds (36kg). Height range is between 16” to 25” tall at the withers (ridge between the shoulder blades) but can also be much taller. My 3-year-old Sheepadoodle is around 28” tall!
Mini Sheepadoodles range from around 20 pounds (9kg) to 50 pounds (22.5kg) and their height can be anything from 14” to 16” tall.
They are usually solid dogs with big strong webbed paws and have a naturally athletic build with a deep thick chest.
Because of the pure nature of a cross-bred dog, the inherited issues associated with each parent breed is more likely to be lessened, due to the gene pool being widened and a healthier dog being produced.
However, it is also important to remember that if either parent has a genetic issue then there is always a chance this will be passed onto the litter. It is so important to check all health tests on both parents when looking to get a new puppy.
The heartbreak of having to say “no” to getting a particular puppy after you have drooled over the pictures and videos, is nowhere near the heart-wrenching decision you may have to make when your dog gets older and has irreparable health issues.
These are some ailments that may be more prevalent in the Sheepadoodle:
Hip Dysplasia – Incomplete or poor development of the hip joint, usually inherited or developed in puppyhood that causes painful swelling of the joints. Arthritis will eventually occur.
Elbow Dysplasia – This is the same as hip dysplasia but occurs in the elbows.
Bloat – Fatal if left untreated. The stomach twists, trapping gas and food inside. This happens in deep-chested dogs and can be brought on by exercising too soon after a meal.
Addison’s Disease – Deficiency in adrenocortical hormones. Causes weight loss, vomiting, lethargy, excessive thirst. Sometimes Addison’s Disease causes intermittent shaking episodes.
Cataracts – Lenses in the eye clouds over with time leading to partial or complete sight loss. (Not to be confused with Nuclear Sclerosis which is the lens hardening with age and taking on a cloudy appearance)
Most inherited diseases and health problems will have been tested for in the parents before breeding, so if you have checked the paperwork thoroughly, like buying any breed of puppy, you will be unlikely to experience these in your Sheepadoodle.
Traditionally, the Sheepadoodle is depicted in commercial images, being black and white in color, shaggy, and with that cute expressive Doodle face we all love.
Their coats can range from loose waves to tight curls. Sometimes a mix of both! Often their tails and ears are beautiful silky hair but the rest of their bodies are curly.
Cute and shaggy, they are, but black and white are by no means the only colors these amazing dogs come in.
Because Old English Sheepdogs are black and white and fade to gray and white, it is only natural that their puppies will normally be this color.
But, add in the Poodle and you have a beautiful palette of colors and patterns. White, cream, apricot, red, brown, chocolate, black, gray, parti, tuxedo, block color, merle, and many others. Just look and the brindle coming through in this photo of my F1b Sheepadoodle.
For more information on Sheepadoodle colors, check out our color guide.
Feeding your Sheepadoodle
Lots of pet experts all have differing opinions of what to feed your dog, from puppyhood to adulthood. The one thing that all agree with is to feed the best quality that you can afford.
How much to feed a Sheepadoodle?
A lot obviously depends on size and activity levels, but seeing as the Sheepadoodle is an active inquisitive breed, they tend to eat a lot in order to fuel their bodies and brains.
Always keep a record of their weight and update it every six months to keep track of how much to feed.
Lots of commercial dog food have a feeding guide on the pack and will always go by weight. If feeding raw, you will need to know their weight as the math that is used to work out how much food to give is based on weight/activity levels.
Sheepadoodles eat a lot! I mean a massive amount! A healthy active dog will need the fuel to replenish lost energy, feed their brains, and repair muscles.
What to feed a Sheepadoodle?
This is up to every individual to weigh up their options. Cost will always come into it, but with commercial food, the better quality it is, the less you need to feed. My pet shop had run out of my usual dry dog food, so I had to buy another brand. It was way cheaper, and I was thinking of switching until I looked at the feeding guide.
My more expensive usual brand worked out on my dog’s weight, meant I fed 14 ounces (400g) per day. This cheaper brand said to feed 23 ounces (650g) per day. It ended up being way more expensive over time and my dog had such bad loose stools due to the poor quality and extra chemicals that were in the food.
An easy way to figure out the quality of the food. If it says “Chicken and Vegetables” then the first ingredients on the pack should be Chicken and Vegetables (NOT Cereals and Meat Derivatives)
Raw Vs Dry/Canned
This is a subject that I have researched endlessly and had caused me some confusion over the years.
Dried and canned dog food offers a time saving way to feed your Sheepadoodle and so long as you know how much they weigh, what their activity level is and watch for any allergies, then this is an easy option. Just open the pack, weigh and feed your dog. Simple.
Raw food takes time to get right, effort, time and knife skills to prepare and can be messy. However, seeing as the Sheepadoodle comes from two working type dogs, they tend to be fitter and healthier in the long run when fed on raw. Many experts recommend that a dog’s diet when fed on a raw diet, comprises of muscle meat, bone, vegetables, organ meat, seeds/nuts and fruit.
There are many helpful websites to offer guidance on raw feeding. This one, focussing on the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet, is one I referenced to from time to time when I started out on raw feeding.
I feed my three dogs on a mixture of dry and raw (but not in the same meal as this gives them gas).
In the evenings, when I’ve just got back from work and need to prep the family meal, I need something quick. I feed dried biscuits with a topper, like steamed vegetables, scrambled eggs, or a good quality canned food.
In the mornings, I feed raw chicken, with skins, chopped into chunks (My 3-year-old Sheepadoodle is a bit of a diva and refuses to crunch on whole chicken thighs) with the odd chicken liver and steamed veg thrown in.
I prep around 24 pounds (11kg) of raw meat at the weekend, portion up and freeze for the week ahead. For snacks, I feed them raw whole carrots, broccoli stalks, or parsnips.
Sheepadoodles are HIGH ENERGY and need around 1.5-2 hours of exercise per day. Not all of this exercise needs to be physical, it can be mental stimulation too. The Sheepadoodle is a very intelligent breed and will thrive on learning new skills.
They tend to be very good off their leash, therefore a good run in a field will do them good as they can burn all of that energy off.
Sheepadoodles are an athletic breed, which they get from both parent breeds, and this means that they can be very demanding when it comes to exercise.
You can easily train your Sheepadoodle to run with you if this is how you get your daily exercise. They are amazing running partners due to their stamina and connection to their human. It will strengthen your bond and give your dog a great workout. I sometimes run with my 3-year-old dog in the early mornings before work if I know there won’t be anyone coming home in the next few hours, just so he will be too tired to get up to mischief. Take a look at our article about running with your dog that goes into more detail.
So, with the beautiful coat, comes the work involved in keeping it that way. Once you own a Sheepadoodle, they will have more hair combs, brushes and sprays than you!
Both Old English Sheepdogs and Poodles have a double coat and do “shed”, but the hair does not drop. The hair needs to be brushed out of their coat to avoid mats and keep the skin healthy. Your Sheepadoodle will be genetically pre-disposed to have long hair, therefore the hair stays in the root longer than a short hair dog, allowing it to grow long before being discarded. I keep my dogs short to avoid the hair getting tangled and to prevent the hair shedding too often.
This is a comparison I made once, with my Sheepadoodle and my Labradoodle, when I brushed them one evening. Sheepadoodle on the left, Labradoodle on the right. They are similar sizes, but as the Sheepadoodle has hair with a longer lifespan, less comes out.
I have a plethora of brushes and combs that I use for different dogs and different parts of their bodies. I also groom my own dogs as grooming appointments can get very expensive when you need to go every 6-8 weeks and have three dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do Sheepadoodles Stop Nipping?
All puppies nip! It’s their way of playing as this is what they do with their littermates. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it’s highly annoying. Puppy teeth are sharp! Consistent and regular training is all that is needed to curb this behavior.
Your puppy is born with two sets of teeth, the baby teeth, and their adult teeth. If you’ve had teething babies then you can compare quite closely as the puppies nip and bite partly because they are uncomfortable with the adult teeth moving under their gums, pushing the baby teeth out. Also, they are excited by the world and want to play and taste it in all its glory.
With consistent reminders in place for the puppy to learn it is not acceptable to nip, they should stop at around 3-4 months old. There are many websites to help with training techniques, usually involving a loud “Ouch” from you and diversion onto something that is acceptable to bite, like a tactile chew toy. After this age and up until they are around 10 months old, they will just “mouth” you and it will become less and less. Stick with it!
Are Sheepadoodles Protective?
Yes. They are incredibly emotionally close to their pack, which includes you and the close family members around you.
Their parent breeds mean that they have it genetically in them to protect all who they consider family. This will manifest in various ways, including climbing onto somebody’s lap when they are giving attention to someone else, or standing in front of a person, leaning slightly on their legs, when they stop to talk to someone else.
This protective trait in the Sheepadoodle lends themselves to be fabulous family dogs, but this will need to be constantly kept in check as a little protectiveness can be seen as aggressive behavior, or turn into an obsession that means the “protected” person cannot form any relationship with someone else without upsetting their Sheepadoodle.
On the plus side, a protective dog will lay down its life for you and protect its pack with its last breath.
Why Does my Sheepadoodle Bark?
Sheepadoodles are great watchdogs who are alert and protective dogs. Barking at a noise outside or an unfamiliar sight means they are doing what comes naturally to the breed. They are saying “Hey, get over her. Something’s not right.” I always give my dogs a stroke and a gentle “Good Boy” when they bark at the front door, or a strange noise, as they are only doing what they are meant to do.
Sheepadoodle puppies, often bark at their humans when in full play mode. This is a sign they are overstimulated and the game needs to end. Having said this, my Sheepadoodles sometimes bark at me in protest when I’ve told them off for something, almost as if they are having a temper-tantrum with me!
I have spent a lot of time training them the “Enough” word and this often stops the barking when it is seemingly for no reason at all.
Do Sheepadoodles get on with Cats?
Yes, Sheepadoodles get along with most other household pets. They are loving and accepting dogs and are in doggy heaven when the other pet wants to cuddle and sleep with them as Sheepadoodles are highly sociable dogs.
Do watch for the Old English Sheepdog “herding” trait though. The Sheepadoodle is notorious for herding. Usually, it is toys, blankets, etc, but sometimes it is other animals, including cats. If your Sheepadoodle decides the cat needs to be somewhere other than where it is, he will often start to gently “herd” the cats into the correct position. Cats are stubborn creatures and will often force the Sheepadoodle to move onto nipping the cat to get it “herded” correctly.
Are Sheepadoodles High Energy?
Sheepadoodles have bags of energy and stamina. If left un-exercised or alone, they will seek to expend that energy on their surroundings.
The Sheepadoodle comes from two working breeds, who are highly focussed and are genetically programmed to work all day long.
They will need 1.5 – 2 hours of exercise a day. They will need mental stimulation as well as physical stimulation to burn their energy off. Their high energy levels lend them to be excellent family dogs and are eager to interact with their humans on every level.
Games involving problem-solving and training will tire your Sheepadoodle out and as they are an intelligent breed, you will need to be constantly changing the games up to challenge and develop your dog’s brain.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the Sheepadoodle and now have a better knowledge and understanding of this wonderful breed.